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The Region

March 31, 1985

Defense attorneys in the McMartin Pre-School molestation preliminary hearing argued for dismissal of half of 208 molestation and conspiracy counts against their clients on grounds that they are beyond the statute of limitations. Municipal Judge Aviva K. Bobb said she will rule on the motion within a week. The defense is contending that there were errors in the newly revised section of the Penal Code dealing with the statute of limitations. The mistake shortened the statute of limitations for acts of child molestation committed before 1982. As a result, the older counts in the case should be dismissed, the attorneys argued. The prosecution, arguing that the new statute is ambiguous, said it was "absurd" to believe that the Legislature intended to decriminalize child molestation. Charged with molestation and conspiracy involving 41 former students are the Manhattan Beach school's founder Virginia McMartin, 77, and six former teachers.

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